Winter minestrone with pesto croûtes

Winter minestrone with pesto croûtes

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(52 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 40 mins


Serves 4
Keep the winter out and warmth in with nutritious minestrone and pesto croûtes

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Easily doubled / halved

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal274
  • fat13g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs28g
  • sugars12g
  • fibre8g
  • protein13g
  • salt2.56g
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 100g unsmoked lardons or chopped streaky bacon
  • 2 large carrot, chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 sticks celery, chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 1 medium potato, chopped



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 2 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 1l vegetable stock (from granules or a cube)
  • 2 tsp chopped sage leaves, or 1 tsp dried



    Popular in both Italian and British cookery, sage has long, grey-green leaves with a slightly…

  • few cabbage leaves, shredded



    The cabbage, or brassica, family is huge, and includes everything from the familiar red, white…

  • 400g can haricot bean
  • handful chopped parsley



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

For the pesto croutes

  • slices of crusty bread
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 tbsp pesto



    Pesto is a generic Italian name for any sauce made by pounding ingredients together.



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and lardons or bacon and fry for about 5 mins until the onion is starting to brown. Tip in the carrots, celery, potato and garlic, stir well and cook for a few minutes.

  2. Add the tomatoes, stock and sage, and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce heat to simmer and cook partly covered for 30 mins, stirring in the cabbage after 15 mins. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pan with the parsley. Season and serve with pesto croûtes, see right, or crusty bread.

  3. For the pesto croûtes: Cut 3-4 slices of crusty bread into chunks, about 2cm thick. Tip into an ovenproof pan. Mix the olive oil and pesto, then add to the bread, tossing it with your hands until the croûtes are evenly coated. Bake in a moderate oven for about 10 mins until crisp.

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Comments (58)

rachkharris's picture

Delicious and bags of flavour!

loopylinny's picture

I made a few changes to this soup but it turned out really well so I thought that i'd share them with everyone. Firstly I seasoned well and added a pinch of chilli flakes to give it a bit of a kick. I also roughly blended half of the mixture before adding the beans to thicken it up a bit and added some conchigliette pasta which made it wonderfully tasty and filling. I also left out the bacon because I wanted a veggie option. I would highly recommend!

sozzer99's picture

this is my favourite winter soup/stew recipe, and even if youre short of a couple of ingredients it doesnt matter - it still tastes great, and many of them are interchangabel with other vegetables such as sweet potato, kidney beans etc.

ossie70's picture

This was a great soup for all the family. My children loved the pesto croutes.

joandsteve's picture

Really tasty, loved the hint of bacon but not so sure about the shredded cabbage !

stuie88's picture

Excellent soup, a big bacth of which kept us going for a couple of days when we were snow bound!

itsnice's picture

I forgot the garlic (!?), and took took half the mix out - blended - and put it back in again. tried doing the croutons with anchovy pesto (it was on offer) - it was awesome. will def do it again (maybe with garlic this time)!

hannahq_2006's picture

Very tasty soup. Everyone loved it!

rozzi36's picture

Ah, what a great smell in the house tonight :)I'm making this for my parents (lentil soup lovers) as their cooker's broke. I know they're gonna love it along with the croutons.

I kept the smokey bacon slices whole and took them out when done and chopped them up to add with croutons when serving, warmed and sprinkled with parmeasan. I put a big spoonful of sundried tomato pesto into soup a big squirt of tomato puree, some broken spaggetti then pureed about 4 ladel fulls of the veg from the bottom. This helped give it a bit more depth. I used the sundried pesto on the croutons with some garlic salt.

Many thanks for a great, repeatable recipe

kayteemac's picture

delicious delicious delicious! I changed the recipe a little to suit our tastes and my diet! I swapped the potato for swede and didnt add any bacon or the haricot beans! I also didnt have any cabbage so added green beans instead! The soup was thick, filling and nutritious! Will certainly be making it again!

jodiec's picture

Just made this, very yummy indeed. Used mixed beans in mild chilli sauce as was all I had - very delicious! Also left off pesto as didn't fancy it with strong flavours of soup. Not sure kids would eat it, but that's ok with me. I'm wasn't offering to share!

foodie64mum's picture

A really delicious soup which the whole family loved. Next time I might add some tiny pasta shapes 10 mins before the end as my daughter complained that it wasn't a PROPER minestrone without pasta! It reheats very well.

pixieloveheart's picture

Absolutely delicious, we have this all the time although I don't bother with the croutons and just serve with crusty bread.

sallywerry's picture

First rate!
Weekly special now. I vary the meat with beef, chicken and bacon all are very tasty and nutritious.

little_alien's picture

awesome soup make it weekly. only 2 of us so we get a couple of lunchs as well :)

lilithspain's picture

Brilliant! Me and my sister were sorted for lunches for work for days! Very tasty!

cath3rin3's picture

A really tasty winter warmer. I adapted the recipe for what I had in the pantry - leek instead of celery, mini pasta bows instead of the beans, but it came out lovely all the same. Made loads too. Thanks for another lovely, healthy and cheap recipe which is going to be a family favourite!

katalat's picture

I also found the colour lacking and whilst it was very nice I wouldn't say it is the best I have tasted. It also seems like there are alot more than four portions.
Perhaps if I had blended the tomatoes and used less water in the stock? I suppose I could have also cut the vegetables smaller. Has anyone had success with this?

brendabel18's picture

looks fanstic on the picture, but I defy anyone to get the deep rich colour from 1 tin of tomatos. I was dissapointed with the look of the soup, but it tasted ok

laurenwilson's picture

This is a great recipe, I make it very week now. I replace the bacon with a big dollop of marmite, its really good and healthy which is a bonus!


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